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Posted 10.19.06

Weatherheadlines sat down with Betty Vandenbosch, Associate Dean of External Relations & Executive Education and Associate Professor of Information Systems, to talk about growing up in Canada, her role in the Global Forum, and rooting for the underdog.

Q: Where did you live before you came to Cleveland? I grew up on a farm outside London, Ontario, but have spent lots of time in other places. I lived for a decade in Toronto and Edmonton, and I spent a year each in Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam when I worked for McKinsey & Company. In fact, my son was born in Amsterdam.

Q: What brought you to Weatherhead?
When I finished my PhD, I needed to find a position within a few hundred miles of Toronto. Cleveland is in that circle and I was thrilled with the opportunity to be able to work with some of the best researchers in the Information Systems field.

Q: How long have you been a professor at Weatherhead?
I’ve been on the faculty for 13 years.

Q: You have been instrumental in bringing the Global Forum to Case, as well as working hand in hand with the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB). Now that the Forum is fast approaching, does it have any meaning for you either personally or professionally?
We are working on a project that may change the face of management education and may help corporations become more sustainable. The work of the Forum matters to all of our futures and has the potential to make a difference to the quality of all our lives. From a personal point of view, anyone who has worked on a large scale project knows the exhilaration and terror that comes from pulling everything together. I’m privileged to be able to work with a small group of folks at Weatherhead who are making this happen in addition to their day jobs.

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of working on the Forum?
I am thrilled that the forum will engage a much broader audience than we initially envisioned. Students from high schools and universities and patrons of Cuyahoga County libraries in Mayfield and Maple Heights will be participating virtually and our generous sponsors have enabled us to provide scholarships to 20 youth from around the world to attend in person.

Q: In your opinion, how does the Global Forum benefit Case, Cleveland, and the surrounding Northeast Ohio region?
People from 37 countries are going to have the opportunity to see Case and to experience our intellectual environment and our hospitality. At the same time, our community will have the opportunity to experience first-hand how businesses around the world are prospering through sustainability. The Northeast Ohio Track will help to galvanize our collective efforts to become a ‘green city on a blue lake.”

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to cook, but have a son and a husband who hate food that touches, so I have a limited audience. I also sail competitively, ride my bicycle, belong to a book club, do lots of Pilates and am on the boards of the Cleveland Music School Settlement and DANCECleveland. I like sitting on the couch and rooting for the underdog. LeBron makes me nervous. We might not be the underdog much longer.

Q: What book are you currently reading?
I’m just finishing Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. It’s about people’s thoughts and behaviors in occupied France during the Second World War. My parents were in the Netherlands during the war and this book gives new texture to their stories.


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